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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: May 2, 2007 4:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Best ever New Potato Caboose (redux)

Cliff asked me to repost the following, which he was concerned got buried in the nonsense of a few weeks back:

After discovering another NPC devotee in Cliff, I went back and listened to as many versions as I could lay my hands on and had time for, and my personal favorite is...2-14-68.

In jotting down my notes, I used a rigorous A+, A, A- grading scale, figuring that a bad New Potato Caboose beats the best ever Mexicali Blues. Other dates earning A+ included Cliff's favorite 3-29-68, as well as the Two From the Vault version from 8-24-68, and 3-1-69. 11-11-67 got a solid A+ for the instrumental jam, but was marred by an iffy opening vocal section. Surprisingly, the 6-8-69 version from the Fillmore West 1969 bonus disc got one of the few A- grades for the godawful things my favorite bass player was doing to his instrument during his solo.

Anyway, 2-14-68 took the crown for the archetypal manner in which the musical narrative unfolded. Each step in the traditional sequence of musical events in that number is handled just right, and they flow into each other in a natural and compelling manner. By contrast, every other A+ or high A version I listened to is distinguished by one or more fine moments (Jerry's long guitar passage in the 3-29-68 version is astonishing, especially considering how early it is in the band's history), but either has counterbalancing weak points or lacks the coherence of 2-14-68.

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: May 2, 2007 5:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose (redux)

Thanks Lou!

Its really fun listening to all the versions, they differ quite a bit!

I dont know what it is about New Potato, but damn if it doesnt get Cliff all charged up! Pity it didnt stick around longer!

Cliff cant think of a single negative thing to say about 2/14/68. Every note of the show is incredible.

A couple months back you mentioned the version from #6 of the download series (Carousel Ballroom 3/17/68), the entire show smokes and the sound quality is unsurpassed!

Naturally Two from the Vault deserves mention (Shrine 8/24/68), but there are a few versions Cliff digs just a little better:

1) 3/29/68 - Jer is on fire, the blistering leads are truly amazing. This is quintessential Dead!

http://www.archive.org/details/gd68-03-29.aud.vernon.9473.sbeok.shnf


2) 8/22/68 - High energy, Viola Lee type New Potato!

http://www.archive.org/details/gd68-08-22.sbd.cotsman.14915.sbeok.shnf


3) 8/23/68 - Brooding, Dylanesque New Potato!

http://www.archive.org/details/gd68-08-23.sbd.sacks.52.sbefail.shnf


Honorable Mention) 1/24/69 - Extremely well jammed!

http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-01-24.sbd.kaplan.7922.sbeok.shnf

Then there are the "Thirteen Jams", which I believe you did not find as inspiring?

http://www.archive.org/details/gd68-xx-xx.sbd.vernon.9426.sbeok.shnf

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: May 2, 2007 6:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose (redux)

I 100% agree with you on 8-22-68 and 1-24-69, including your putting 8-22-68 a shade ahead of 1-24-69.

I was on the verge of gushing about 8-22 in my original post, but I hadn't made listening notes on it, so I didn't have anything intelligent to say about it, other than remembering it was really good. Will have to go back to it.

I didn't take the time before my post, because I wanted to waste no time in dangling an NPC topic in front of you, thinking like so many others that your silence at the time was a product of your disgust with the 2-lame forum nonsense rather than of your having an expensive and powdery life outside this forum.

As to 8-23-68, I believe that NPC is part of the filler attributed to 8-29-68. On listening to NPC's in bulk, I discovered that I had the same version (end of St Stephen > jam, TOO > NPC > Alligator > Caution) also on disc 1 of the 1968 mystery tapes, and on a disc attributed only to 5-68. Given the presence of the (annoying) thirteen jam, I'd date it to August. Anyway, I gave the version an A- only because (IIRC) Phil is buried so far down in the mix that it's a pain to follow what he's doing.

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: May 2, 2007 7:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose (redux)

8/29/68? Avalon?

Interesting Lou, Cliff is not familiar with that show?

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: May 2, 2007 8:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose (redux)

Matrix (they say). Info on LMA 8-23-68 here, incl supposed 8-29 tracks:

http://db.etree.org/shninfo_detail.php?shnid=52

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: May 2, 2007 4:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose (redux)

Oh...forgot to mention another A+ version and a sentimental favorite: 5-5-67 from Fillmore Aud.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd67-05-05.sbs.yerys.1595.sbeok.shnf

It's a heartwarming version, beginning with Bobby's "This one's for Laughlin" at the beginning, and the jamming is remarkably sophisticated for such an early version. BTW, there's an interesting discussion of who or what Laughlin might be at the above link.

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Poster: Death&Mercy Date: May 2, 2007 4:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Best ever New Potato Caboose (redux)

I went looking for a best ever Potato a while ago. I wound up adding Lou's 2-14 to the collection, mainly because the source that circulates sounds so good. The version is not really spectacular in any way, just a near perfect playing of a great song. Thanks for the post Lou.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd68-02-14.sbd.kaplan.15640.sbeok.shnf

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Poster: William Tell Date: May 2, 2007 7:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Phil is great...Phil for forum deity on call

You have to love him in this song...is it one of the only that regularly features a solo? Was it sorely lacking from later era songs?

I too have a soft spot for the Two from the Vault version. But these others listed above are great as well.

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Poster: Lou Davenport Date: May 2, 2007 9:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Phil is great...Phil for forum deity on call

Regular Phil solos also on Eyes of the World, sort of, and Dark Star in 73.